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Jake Freivald

March 2008

Small Suns and Cold Deserts

We have an intriguing set of flashes this month.

Well-known sci fi novelist and short story writer James Van Pelt starts off “Just Before Recess” with this sentence: “Parker kept a sun in his desk.” It’s just that simple, it seems, and the next few paragraphs just make this impossibility seem that much more mundane. When I first read the story, I didn’t particularly care for the ending, but then I realized that when something this miraculous is that mundane, how else are the kids going to act?

David Tallerman, on the other hand, tells us about something real, but that seems odd, in “The Desert Cold”. This story works into my mind like a splinter under a fingernail. I like the voice, and I can’t help but sympathize with the character — which makes it all the more difficult when I end up really, really disliking him by the end. The story is all past perfect, so it’s really a character study borne on an already-completed plot, but it grips me anyway.

Glenn Lewis Gillette gives us something I wish the world had a lot less of in “Downstream from Divorce”. This was a hard piece for me to read — divorce is too common, and the destruction it causes too great, to be taken lightly. I don’t like what I see in this story, but it struck me as real and poignant. And it highlights the damage that divorce can do to the moral structure of a generation — insight we desperately need. I knew the first time that I read it that I wanted to publish it.

Also with respect to Glenn’s story: if you had told me ahead of time how it’s structured, I would have been skeptical. I’m not into writing trickery for its own sake. But sometimes artifice becomes art, and I think “Downstream” makes that leap. Glenn’s drama in three acts joins Stefanie Freele’s point-of-view wizardry in the list of successful experiments.

This is all heavy stuff, so to lighten the mood, we call up Mark Twain and his “A Telephonic Conversation”. (Some things never change.) And for a little light-hearted non-fiction, check out our interview with Eric Garcia, who wrote “The Materialist” in our January issue.

A few housekeeping notes:

We will have a St. Patrick’s Day special coming out in the middle of the month, “Lucky Clover” by Barbara A. Barnett. Come back then, or better still, subscribe to the feed.

Also, since Google shut down all my advertising, taking with it the $60 I’ve made over the past three months, I’ve had a lot of work to do compensating for it. As a result, I’m a little bit behind in creating the PDF versions of the stories — I’ll produce those in the near term.

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About the Author

Jake Freivald

The eyes of Jake Freivald

Jake Freivald lives in New Jersey in a house that teems with life: a wife, eight kids, two dogs, two cats, and ten fish. They’re all being neglected right now, so he’s going to stop writing this.

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